PROFILE OF THE WEEK
By Dr. Dhanapaul Narine
Roshnee Sukhnandan is demure and friendly. She is well spoken and carries herself with confidence. This young lady is an attorney that has passed the Bar at her first attempt and now holds a responsible job. One reason for Roshnee’s success is that she took her time to plan her career with aforethought and diligence.
Roshnee was born in the Bronx in New York. Her dad is Khemraj Sukhnandan and her mom is Tavita. They are both from East Canje in the Berbice area of Guyana. Khemraj migrated to New York in 1986 and Tavita followed shortly afterwards. They were married in 1987 in the Bronx. Roshnee has a younger brother, Jai Prakash who is commonly known as Kevin.
Roshnee and her family moved to Queens when she was around four years old. They still live in the same house. She attended PS 90 and then Holy Child Jesus School and articulated to Archbishop Molloy for a year. She then joined her brother at Thomas Edison High School. How did she find the transition?
Roshnee says that it was a huge change. “It was tough but looking back it did me good to be in the public school system. I learned so much from it, including tolerance and multiculturalism.” She did well at Thomas Edison; reading was one of her strengths as well as public speaking and class discussions. Roshnee was able to benefit from an explosion of Caribbean culture and the exposure was positive; they were able to pronounce her name correctly too!
A number of teachers played a role in shaping Roshnee’s personality and she is grateful to all of them. She remembers her eighth grade teacher at Holy Child, Ms. Quitchon who was a disciplinarian. There was also Sister Paul Francis who was a great math teacher and a warm and friendly person and at Thomas Edison Ms. Petrosus was the homeroom teacher that was welcoming.
Roshnee graduated from Thomas Edison in 2008 and it was now time for college. She went to Queens College which was a wonderful experience and she majored in Political Science and Law and minored in Sociology. She graduated cum laude in 2012 and that was a tremendous achievement.
But Roshnee had her eyes on a greater prize. She wanted to pursue studies in Law. This would give her the chance to fulfill a childhood dream. Roshnee wanted to be an attorney since she was eight years old.
She said, “I always wanted to be an attorney. It was all I thought about as a child. I had no other plan.” Roshnee explained that her grandfather would always seek her advice and ask her to write letters. She would willingly comply and the thought struck her that it would be a good idea to be an attorney.
A combination of other factors helped to make her decision concrete and included having class discussions, reading about the law, and public speaking at her temple, the Shri Trimurti Bhavan. Roshnee was also driven to the legal profession by the desire to be an advocate for the under-privileged, especially women. She didn’t want to be stuck at a desk and do only acquisitions and mergers. She wanted to have a personal connection with the clients.
Roshnee interned at the Queens County Supreme Court where she was able to acquire valuable experience. During this internship she took her LSAT. She then worked in a private corporate firm as a receptionist starting in 2013. Roshnee applied to Law School and was accepted at St. John’s University to pursue studies leading to her law degree. She enjoyed her studies and worked with her team on a number of real-life legal cases.
Roshnee graduated in 2016. She did well and her parents and relatives were proud of her. The next step was to study for the Bar but first there was a wedding that she had to attend. The wedding was in Toronto and little did Roshnee know that her life would change there. There was a young man in the crowd, the sparks flew and it was love at first sight!
Roshnee returned to New York and studied for the Bar. It required a great deal of discipline but she applied herself and was successful at her first attempt. Roshnee was happy and so were her parents. She was sworn in as a member of the Bar in August 2017. These days, she appears in court on behalf of her employers and is acquiring valuable experience along the way.
Roshnee is mindful of the many persons that have helped her and is grateful to all of them. Her current boss Ms. Eichler has been a huge part of her life and Roshnee is thankful for her compassion and kindness. She describes her mother Tavita as an “exceptional woman that has elevated herself intellectually and I always admire her. She is ahead of her time. I am grateful that she is my mother.” Roshnee is also thankful for her father Pooran. He is always there for her and is supportive in all her ventures.
Pooran says, “Roshnee and her brother Kevin have brought joy in our lives. Whenever I took Roshnee to school or to take a test I was always comforted with the thought that she would do well. She has never given us cause for worry.” Tavita says, “Roshnee is strong, smart and beautiful. We are proud to be her parents.”
Roshnee is caring, studious and well organized. She is success oriented and definitely has a far way to go. She is a credit to her community. We wish her and her family all the best in the future.